Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old Friends, New Beginnings, and Delicious Coffee Crumb Cake

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back! We've been having lpts of fun in my little corner of the world.

Like painting all the kitchen cabinets. Ok, this it really wasn't fun. Seriously NOT fun. Especially since the cabinets were handmade by a not-so-professional amateur carpenter and reallllly don't fit well together at the best of times. When you take the doors off their hinges and the drawers out, it takes a miracle and a half to get them back on right.
 Anyway, we also had this happening in our house. BABY TOES. Oh my goodness, best thing EVAH. 
 And whose toes are those? (Dr. Seuss would know.) Julianne's toes! Does she look familiar? No? I'll give you another hint...
 There's her big brother on the left. (See how she adores him?)
He's got the touch. You stick your face right in there and pretend to eat her fat little cheeks.
 And she laughs her head off! Nothing sweeter than sibling love. But you still can't guess whose baby this is? OK, I'll give you another hint... Remember that post about Artisan Savory Pumpkin Rolls? Our babysitter, Cassey, is magical with children and had been fighting off single dads across the state.... Until one day, she met a cellar rat (his words, not mine!), fell in love and married him. Here's a picture of their little family then...
And now beautiful Julianne has joined Cassey, Noe, and Robert! 
So, we had some baby lovin' the other day and I tried out my new camera on her. Basically, shooting baby pictures is A LOT harder than I figured. I did get this one...
She's just chillin' in the backyard. (I giggle every time I see this picture.)
So, I've also been juicing several meals a day (that means, fruits and vegetables, not juicing hamburgers, although that sounds pretty good right now). I've kicked the caffeine habit and it wasn't that bad, which probably means I wasn't drinking as much coffee as I thought. But Edna isn't really impressed with the juicing. She needs to create and bake... not liquify.
I got this great coffee cookbook from the library and she said there was more than just drinks in there.
I try not to look at this picture too closely. *gnaws on own hand*
    And this looks especially delicious!
But in the end, we decided the Coffee Crumb Cake would hit the spot.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
2/3 cup flour
5 TBS butter
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp espresso, ground
1/3 cup sugar
4 TBS butter, softened, and a little more for greasing
 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbs strong espresso
 The crew, all assembled.
I know this shows four eggs, but I just love our Americuna chickens! The eggs are SO PRETTY.
 I ordered this off Amazon. A great espresso ground and works prefectly in my latte maker!
 I found this little vintage Pyrex at a yard sale. So cute! So tiny! So yellow!
 Ok, mix all the topping ingredients into a bowl, cutting the butter into the flour mix with a pastry tool. You can use a food processor but Edna was giving directions and if it's good enough for Edna, it's good enough for me.
 Set aside the topping. In a bowl, mix the cake ingredients, beating until smooth. (You like my wooden spoon? My sister was scandalized to hear I DID NOT OWN A WOODEN SPOON. Disregarding the question of how I beat my children without one ((kidding!)), how could I cook? Every good cook must have a wooden spoon. And it's true! She got me three. So, now I cook three times as well. :)
 Pour into the greased pan.
 Add topping. Pop into oven.
 Oooo, this frosting smelled SO GOOD.
 The recipe said to leave the cake in for 35 minutes or until a toothpick came out clean, but it it took much longer. Maybe my oven is off. but it didn't start to puff until about 45 minutes and then the toothpick inserted didn't come out clean until close to 50 minutes. Let it set for about ten minutes before cutting. (I forgot this part and the pieces were a little squashed.)
 Gratuitous dripping frosting picture.
 It really was a good recipe, nice and fluffy. Very aromatic but not overwhelming with the allspice and the coffee.
 I'd like to say this is my piece, but I think I ate two... or more... So, saying "my piece" is a bit of a lie! "One of my pieces" is a better term.
 Ok, leaving you with some pictures of the lunar eclipse. It was freezing cold and I was shaking like crazy, but the new camera still was great!
 I love how the color begins to change...
 Almost completely eclipsed...
Just a sliver left! At this point, my camera wouldn't figure out what in the heck I was trying to shoot, and just whirred, unable to find the focus. But I was thrilled with what I got!

 Ok, everyone, have a wonderful Holy Week and I'll see you back here after Easter! Doesn't that sound good? EASTER. It feels like Lent has been exxxxtrrrrrraaaaa long this year. I couldn't help but put out our pysanky a little early.
I ordered these from a wonderful company called Monastery Icons. My girls are taking a class on Russian Imperialism and they were so excited to see these arrive! I forgot to order stands. Hence the ink bottle stands, haha.
(I'm not Russian, or Russian Orthodox, or have a drop of Russian in me, but I DO have a soft spot for Eastern Europe after studying Eastern Euro languages for so long. Attending the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland also might have had something to do with it, but then again, maybe not. All I remember is cabbage and snow.)

 Until next time!


  1. Amazing looking coffee cake! More amazing looking little people! Laughed when I read about the spoons :) We weren't able to see the eclipse because of clouds. Thanks for freezing to show us what it looked like!

    1. Heehee!! And those spoons are perfect. Thank you again!

  2. I want those ribs!! those eggs are beautiful! those ribs were beautiful too...sigh...barely after 9 am and I'm wanting lunch already..
    I don't have any wooden spoons etiher- someone here posted about them..was it Mindy? can't remember but there were a bunch of gadgets in that post and I wishlisted them on amazon seems like so I'd remember to look into them later.

    I'm not a coffee fan- blech - but I do get my caffeine with tea and chocolate- having to cut back since I've been edgy and feeling jittery..sigh..with or without I'm that way I guess LOL!

    1. Ooooo, I hear you. I'm not a fan if the jitters. I have six kids to keep me jittery and I don't need caffeine to add to it. But I do love a hot latter or tea. I just try to keep it to a minimum.


    I used to collect painted, glazed, ceramic. etc. Decided it was just not meant to be with four kids. They are packed away somewhere.

    Happy Easter!!

    1. Happy Easter to you!!! And the eggs are unbreakable. Something like wood, I think. Perfect! I was worrying over my ink bottles, though. I may put those eggs in a little bowl. But isn't it time to get out those breakables, Tina?? We want to see them! We promise not to touch.

  4. Ooo, this cake looks to-die-for, Virginia. However, I'd better wait until I have some place to take it. If I made it now and left it here, I would eat it all. And that would be bad. Especially since I haven't had any sugar in a week and half. Can you imagine? I would be bouncing off the walls. Or, perhaps, laying in my recliner like a slug. Either way, it's not a pretty picture. But I am saving this recipe, because it just might come in handy. :)

    1. I hear you Missy! Before this, I hadn't had any sugar for a week and I feel really good. I was sort of kidding about the pieces. I had a half, and it was GOOD. It was such a small pan. Normally I would double that recipe. It made about ten 2-inch pieces. I think the kids had 6 and hubby had 3 and 1/2. Then it was done! Lucky me.

  5. This looks beautiful. I'd leave out the espresso (not a coffee lover), but I could substitute dark chocolate, right? I mean, chocolate goes with everything :)

    You got some great pictures of the eclipse. I forgot all about it. I even looked at the moon earlier in the evening a remarked how bright it was! And forgot the eclipse.

    And what a beautiful baby! The way her brother loves on her brings tears to my eyes. A sweet family :)

    1. Hm, I'm not sure if allspice and chocolate would go together. Maybe? It was deliciously aromatic. I know coffee cake usually has cinnamon and that would probably be better bet with this chocolate. And wouldn't the chocolate melt into the crumb mix?
      Now you'll have to try and let us know how it works!
      And those two little people are the sweetest blend of a family I've seen for a while. He kept telling me, "That's my sister" in such a proud way. Adorable!

  6. Love me some baby toes too!! What sweet photos! And really cool ones of the eclipse. I was so aggravated that we missed it. Thanks for sharing! (Notice I'm trying to ignore the carb loaded recipe????) LOL

    1. ha, Missy! We've become the food blog that can't have real food. I tried to put in something for people to comment on, even while no one is eating!